Our resident chicken Dumpling has exciting news to share! She has decided to adopt four Easter Egger chicks. See, Dumpling came to us in an order of guinea hens. Twenty-three brothers and sisters that never quite looked like her. She knew something was different but she just couldn’t put her toenail on it. Until they all started to talk. She didn’t make a “buckwheat buckwheat” sound. She didn’t reach the volume of a rocket blasting off either. She made a soft and quiet “cluck” sound. Something was amiss. She became depressed so we sat down and started looking at options.
Easter Eggers vary widely in color and conformation, and are exceptionally friendly and hardy. Since they are usually quite friendly to children and humans in general, they are a great choice for a family flock.
One thing I’d like to mention here for the sake of not passing on wrong information. Easter Eggers are NOT a breed of chicken but a variety of chicken that does not conform to any breed standards. It lays large to extra large eggs that vary in shade from blue to green to olive to aqua and sometimes even pinkish. Some hatcheries mistakenly label their Easter Eggers as Ameraucanas or Araucanas. Easter Eggers do not qualify to be shown, since they do not conform to a breed standard. Got it? Good.
While surfing the net we saw the Easter Eggers and that did it. Dumpling was sold and the girls were ordered. That’s what I told Mr. Bluejeans anyway.
I did overlook one thing though. My first purchase of chickens was done while we were renting a farmhouse and I felt that I pushed the rules enough by merely purchasing hens while renting (our landlord was a doll and said “What’s a farmhouse without farm animals”!). So I held off on the purchase of a rooster. When I made the Easter Egger purchase I didn’t even THINK of a roo! Oddly, Dumpling did not remind me either… but more on that later.
Now, if you’ve purchased chickens online, you know ya just can’t buy one. No, not just because it’s hard to stop at one but because the hatcheries have a minimum for their orders. So what’s a forgetful girl to do? Post an A.P.B. on your private facebook group for an Easter Egger roo – that’s what ya do!
Well 5 Dog Farm member Noelle came through and Mr. Bluejeans and I took a nice drive to her mini-farm and picked up Mr. Wonderful along with some great tips on ducks from Noelle!
At this point in the game Mr. Wonderful is 4.5 months old, Dumpling is 6 months and the EE girls are 8 weeks old. Mr. Wonderful needed to be introduced to the flock so I took the original cage we used for the baby guinea keets and popped it in the bigger guinea hen housing we have now. Mr. Wonderful made quite the splash. The guineas weren’t sure what to make of him. Their protective spirit came out and I had to replace Mr. Wonderful’s cardboard roof with a wood one. The guineas were just tearing the cardboard one to shreds.
It’s been nine days since Mr. Wonderful’s appearance and I was able to keep one guinea in with him last week. The mob mentality is strong with these birds and Mr. W will need to be in the coop much longer before I feel comfortable with several guineas running with him. There was some posturing but in the end they left each other alone. The same can’t be said for Dumpling. Seems she was enjoying her single gal status as you can see by the little video I’ve included. She was not impressed. Dumpling has slowed down, a bit, on showing Mr. Wonderful who’s in charge but I’m learning this is a slow process and will continue to take baby steps since I don’t want any of our babies injured.
Next on the list is creating a new coop for the Easter Eggers. The decision to have different color eggs was left to me and I went with YES! However, with that decision comes the need for seperate coops so the color line stays strong. Other breeds I’m contemplating are Olive Eggers, Ameraucana as the rarity of these intrigues me, Black Copper Marans for their dark brown eggs, Faverolles, considered to be a threatened breed by the Livestock Conservancy [gotta keep these old breeds off the threatened list] and Silver Laced Wyandotte’s since they were my introduction to chicken keeping. For those of you “Crazy Chicken Ladies” and you know who you are 😉 this is by NO means a complete list. Oh goodness no.
It’s all about the coop building and how quickly we can construct homes for them. Let’s keep in mind that we are planning on sheep early next spring so I’m holding my horses – so to speak- while we determine where the sheep will go and what their housing will look like. And no, I will not be consulting Dumpling on future purchases. She is very bossy and opinionated.
Let’s get to the introductions! See if you can guess where their names come from…
There’s Daisy, Rose, Violet and of course Hyacinth.
Daisy is the only yellow-ish chicken so the name was perfect for her. She is quite friendly and was the largest of all the chicks. She prefers to be referred to as “big boned”.
Rose is a beautiful white and has alternatly reminded us of a snow owl or hawk. She is a bit skiddish but absolutely adores Maddi (who sings to her… in chicken).
Violet. Ah, Violet. Her nickname is Violent. She’s (appropriately) the darkest. Enough said.
Hyacinth is a blackish bird with a little tuft of creamy white on the top of her head and flecks of white on her body. She’s partial to Chanel.
The girls have grown by leaps and bounds since they first arrived. I have them on a new food and scratch by a company called Flock Party. As always, it’s non-GMO and organic. The guineas are the only birds we won’t have on organics since we don’t have plans to eat their eggs (or them).
Now then, you are all caught up on the ladies and Mr. Wonderful. Any guesses as to who the girls are named after? No internet searches now, that takes all the fun out of it.
Do you name your chickens?